Some people hear from God while they pray. Some say He comes to them in dreams. Others receive inspiration when surrounded by God’s creation.
God speaks to me through music.
Sometimes I wake up with a song running through my head on repeat, and later that day I’m faced with a situation where I am strengthened or encouraged or motivated or convicted by the lyrics of that song. Sometimes I pray, but I can’t find the words to express my thanks, or my heartache, or my desperation, or my awe. But then the perfect song comes to mind, and I can literally sing God’s praises.
This evening, in a zombie-like fashion, I buckled my sunscreen-covered, messy-haired, shoeless vessels of energy and noise into their seats and headed to Outback for some curbside takeaway (thanks to a giftcard from my brother and sister-in-law). My energy reserves and my patience were low, and offering grace wasn’t exactly on my agenda after a loooong day of nasty attitudes and drama. (Yes. Boys can create drama just as well as girls.) Upon turning the key, “The Muffin Man” screamed from the speakers for only the 80th time today, and I thought at that moment that I might actually keel over and die. So I mustered up the strength to switch the radio on instead.
I was only searching for a little peace. But God was searching for my attention.
And boy, did He get it! There was a very brief moment of silence before JJ Heller’s song “What Love Really Means” began.
I looooove JJ Heller. I follow her on Facebook and Twitter, and have had the pleasure of seeing her perform live. And I love this song. It tells the story of several people who, for different reasons, feel ignored, unimportant, unseen, unloveable. But God gets ahold of their hearts and shows them that He loves them unconditionally.
I will love you for you
Not for what you have done or what you will become
I will love you for you
I will give you the love
The love that you never knew
This time, God got ahold of my heart. He used JJ’s words, but He twisted them a bit by reminding me to love unconditionally.
Now don’t get me wrong. I love my boys. I love them so much, that sometimes it hurts. But I when I’m overwhelmed, and under-rested (is that a word?) I don’t find it very easy to show love. Snapping a quick answer, or slamming a door seem to offer instant (but fleeting) gratification; a false sense of relief from the chaos and baggage of the day. I find myself praying for bedtime to come quickly so I can put the ugly events of today behind me and regroup for a better tomorrow.
But what my boys need is a mom who can brush off the momentary frustrations of the day to read a story with all the right voices. To play one more round of Candyland instead of rushing them to the bathtub or plopping them in front of the TV. A mom who will show them I love them for who they are…
They are charming and mischievous. They are smart and inquisitive. They are sweaty and messy. They are adventurous and noisy and tumbleweeds of electricity. They are loving and so sensitive and loyal to a fault. They are miraculous. And with God’s strength, I can show them I love them for being all of those things… the good and the bad, the endearing and the insanely frustrating.
It doesn’t matter to me what they’ve done. They’re human, just like the rest of us. They’ve lied, and acted selfishly, and argued, and disobeyed. But who hasn’t?
I will show love. I will offer grace.
God willing, they will become men of good character who experience success. They will still be smart and loyal and inquisitive and adventurous. They will find someone to love, who will love them in return. They will leave a positive impact on this world, even in a small capacity.
And more than anything, I pray that they will experience Christ’s love for them through the love of their mother. A mother who relies on the strength of her Savior and is learning to be better at showing love, and offering grace to her sons.
God spoke loudly and clearly to me this evening. He delivered a hard truth into my life through a sweet melody, and I am so grateful.
How does He speak to you? And what are you doing about it?